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Harmonix Files, Withdraws Activision Lawsuit

Rock Band developer Harmonix has rapidly filed and withdrawn a lawsuit against Guitar Hero publisher Activision, which had alleged that Activision still owed the company more than $14.5 million in royalties for Guitar Hero III and oth
Officials from Rock Band developer Harmonix have withdrawn a lawsuit against Guitar Hero publisher Activision, which had alleged that Activision still owed the company more than $14.5 million in royalties for Guitar Hero III and other spin-offs. According to a report in trade journal Variety, the lawsuit was filed on Monday but withdrawn the next day, with both companies electing to continue discussions out of court. As the original developer of the first two Guitar Hero games, and expansion Rock the ‘80s, Harmonix claims that Activision still owes the company royalties from continued use of legacy technology in Guitar Hero III. Harmonix claims in the lawsuit that the original agreement with publisher RedOctane, now owned by Activision, stipulates that the higher of two royalty rates should be paid if any subsequent Guitar Hero sequel "incorporates, uses, or is derived from Harmonix property." Now owned by MTV Networks, Harmonix claims that the second, lower, royalty rate has been used. According to the lawsuit: "[Activision] has failed to pay Harmonix its full share of royalties earned in connection with Harmonix's essential and undisputed contributions of its intellectual property and technology to the bestselling video game Guitar Hero III”. According to the Variety report, Activision has claimed that all owed royalties have been paid, with the company’s general counsel George Rose saying: “Activision believes it has made sufficient payments to Harmonix and the claims otherwise do not have merit.” Relationships between Harmonix and Activision have appeared to be strained since the two companies parted company, with both blaming each other for a lack of compatibility between Rock Band and Guitar Hero peripherals.

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